Friday, April 18, 2014

An Addition to the Trio

Months ago, I made a trio of quilted pillows for my mom. And of course, they needed a coordinating quilt to keep them company on the couch.
The pillows had been made with Michele D'Amore's Habitat plus some Kona Sweet Pea. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of all of those for a whole quilt, so I used what I had and added in some stash finds that played well. Having made a Disappearing 9-Patch quilt before, I knew the basics and just winged it - starting by cutting oodles of 5" charms and mixing them up to made 9-patches. In case you haven't made the pattern before, p.s. i quilt has a great tutorial here.
We went through the entire fabric store looking for backing, thinking first a black would be nice, no maybe a green, and on and on. At last we found a perfect creamy solution - Dear Stella's Honeycrisp Cobblestone in Stone. Trust me; it's lovely.
For quilting, I used the same Aurifil 50wt #2326 (tan) as in the pillows. "Tan" sounds kind of ho-hum, but this one sure isn't and with its lovely sheen, it really was just right. Mom requested her favorite organic straight-line quilting, which I did pretty dense - about 3/8 to 1/2" apart. It totally suited the block pattern, and gave the quilt a great texture which I know will only be improved by washing.
The binding is a Habitat dot, and a nod to Heather/Winding Bobbins, who recently shared a binding finish technique that worked so well. I'm a bit of an aficionado in regards to binding, yet the perfect {straight-forward} binding finish has been elusive. This is it. The quilt finished about 54x64" - a perfect lap quilt size that also just happens to look marvelous touring around mom's beautiful garden.

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One for the Toolbox

May is my month as queen bee for the Always Bee Learning bee. Of course I debated a bit on what to have them do. 'Learning' is in our name after all, and as an underlying goal of the bee, I finally chose a relatively simple block but one I had never tried. Plus it definitely seemed like one my bee-mates could use in future projects of their own. Meet the half-rectangle triangle block. Obviously so similar to the more prevalent half-square triangle block, but construction has it's unique differences.
I found a terrific tutorial by The Quilt Engineer on The Modern Quilt Guild site: Half Rectangle Triangle Tutorial.

A few specific notes for my bee-mates:
  • I am sending fat-quarters of 2 fabrics, a solid and a print. Cut your fabrics 7.5x13.5". You should have enough for two pairs of blocks. 
  • See step #2 of the tutorial: lay out your fabrics so the solid is on the left and your print is on the right, as shown. 
  • Please ignore the instructions for Directions for Opposite HRT (Right-Left HRT’s). I only want Left-Right HRT’s - the first kind shown. 
  • Press seams open before trimming. 
  • Trim each block carefully following the instructions, checking for the seam allowances as shown in step #5 in the “Squaring” Up Your HRT section. Each of my blocks measured 7x13" unfinished. 
  • Please don't sew your finished blocks to each other. I'll mix them up when I get them all back.
So one thing about this block - my bee will be making 4-7x13" blocks, which works out ever so slightly larger than our normal 2-6 1/2x12 1/2", but the calculations for this block (starting size to ending size) aren't that clear cut, so I'm trusting this minor difference is ok. In general, blocks will be 1/4-1/2" smaller than the size of beginning rectangles, but I didn't trust that, so cut my rectangles a little larger. I should have gone with those calculations and I would have ended up closer to my goal.
Anyway, the fabrics I am sending are La Femme by Melissa Crawley for Kaufman, a fat-quarter bundle I won a couple of years ago. It's been waiting for just the right use, and I think the simplicity of these hrt blocks are just the ticket. The fabric is an Essex linen/cotton blend, and I'm pairing them with a new American Made Brand solid in Light Cream.

So there's something new to try - a new technique to add to your quilting toolbox, which I think is always a good thing!